Tuesday, May 29, 2012

the hive needs a third story!

My bees are thriving and outgrowing their two-story home. You know what that means, friends? It's time for an addition! Tonight I'll be hammering together the eight frames and sheets of wax I bought from Betterbee in Greenwich for the shallow hive body I'll set on top of the lower two. It's a pretty straightforward project, something any mildly competent human being with a hammer and nails can accomplish. Mine will end up looking like a honey-laden piece of Jenga homage sculpture. When it comes to my carpentry skills, I am a pretty decent writer.

I'm not kidding folks, I am horrible at construction, of anything really. It is a skill and mindset I do not have or really wish to attain. The attention to details, the sharp pointy things, the saw blades in circles of whizzing death.... Hand me a leash, t-post pounder, baking sheet, or a saddle and I am in a comfortable place. But construction and the world of woodwork is as strange a place to me as Narnia. Actually, I take that back. Talking lions and swords and fauns? I can handle that. Construction is as strange a place to me as Home Depot.

So I'll figure it out. I'm not concerned. And as long as the frames fit inside the shallow the bees will have their way with them anyhow. In a few weeks they'll be thick with comb and hopefully, thick with honey too! I want to make candles this year from the wax. When Kathy Harrison was here she gifted me a pair of gorgeous beeswax candles and I am going to ask her to come teach this skill for a two part workshop in cold press milk soap making and candle making in the fall. I think folks will love seeing the process from milking Bonita and hand picking mints and lavender here on the farm to setting the molds. I can't wait for that workshop! Crafts from your farmstead not only keep you a little more independent, but make use of so many bounties you already have around. And homemade candle and soap baskets are never a tiresome gift. Certainly useful, certainly appreciated.

Homesteading isn't just about livestock and gardens, but these other skills such as hive management, candle making, and soap making. Carpentry too, of course, but I resign myself to the inevitable. Jenna with a saw is a dangerous combination! Perhaps someday I'll hone in the basics but for now I'm content to barter for that work instead. Plus, I like the work parties and employment/barter opportunities it brings to the farm. Brett will help build the new pony shed and go home with four sheep (Atlas and some gals). I get a professional building and he gets a starter flock. A snazzy bit of shared skills and critters. Not too shabby.

17 Comments:

Blogger Farmlady Wannabe said...

Jenna, you constantly outdo yourself in honesty and delightful writing.

May 29, 2012 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger Urban Farm Girl said...

I kindly request you schedule this workshop around my call schedule so I can come! :) It sounds amazing. Seriously though, if I am not working the weekend of that seminar, I am in!

May 29, 2012 at 11:34 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

Love the line about being a good writer when it comes to carpentry skills. :)

Go Atlas, the ram with 9 lives! Now he gets another harem. I was amazed at those horns of his in the shearing photos; what a studly guy.

May 29, 2012 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger polly said...

cute: When it comes to my carpentry skills, I am a pretty decent writer.

:)

May 29, 2012 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger daisy said...

No matter what it looks like, it will make the bees happy. And that's what counts!

May 29, 2012 at 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Victoria said...

I love it -- I'd be way more at home in Narnia than in Home Depot too. (Except for the garden centre part. I like that.) My sister is going to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity part of this summer so she can learn some basic carpentry -- me, I have problems hammering nails in straight! I'd rather try building things with stone.

May 29, 2012 at 1:22 PM  
Blogger greendria said...

I wish I lived closer, I would put those frames together for you! I just figured out how to do it for my friend. I had to use a hammer with a little head. I also needed a foundation embedder (a spiky-pizza-cutter-looking tool) and a thingy to tighten the wires that get embedded into the foundation. It was actually fun work after I finally got it all figured out!

May 29, 2012 at 1:24 PM  
Blogger Odie Langley said...

Just another example of why I wish I lived closer so I could see all this first hand.

May 29, 2012 at 1:30 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I'm so glad that there are other people who understand you don't have to know how to do EVERYTHING in order to practice self reliance. My new coop was built by my contractor father in exchange for several dinners and many, many cookies. :D I'll leave the spinning blades of death to him.

This is where barter comes in so very handy, isn't it?

Also, I can't wait to get my bees next Spring!

May 29, 2012 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger Chicky said...

I'm right there with you on carpentry! :) I'll leave it to the experts & continue honing my skill with things I enjoy (& can manage). -Christina L

May 29, 2012 at 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

god, I love reading you. THANKS
Cindy from Hampton
If you aren't funny you're informative and when you're neither you're provocative (in an informational kind of way)

May 29, 2012 at 6:21 PM  
Blogger rabbit said...

Brett is taking Atlas! What a lucky fellow! (Brett and Atlas). I was semi-unuseful in the carpentry skills and then spent a summer framing houses and learned REAL quick! And as some of last years antlerstockites antlerstockians(?) can attest to not the best person to wield power tools.... Or walk and chew gum. You can master this important homestead skill too-though bartering is nice. I'm hoping to beehive it up next spring-is it going to be a workshop at this years Antlerstock? Cause they'd be neat. Love the reference to when it comes to your carpentry skills you're a pretty decent writer! Most fisherman I know are pretty good storytellers! Everyone's good at something!

May 29, 2012 at 6:46 PM  
Blogger rabbit said...

Jenna-Jenga! I'd pay for a hive from that company! ;)

May 29, 2012 at 6:47 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

Glad your bees are doing so well!

I feel the same way about carpentry as you do. My hubby gets so exasperated with me sometimes, and I have to remind him that I don't ask him to tend the chickens, make soap, or crochet blankets. That usually keeps him quiet for a while. :)

May 29, 2012 at 7:33 PM  
Blogger hayes8705 said...

So great! My husband just did this the other weekend...took him longer than expected but I think the bees are happy :) I haven't commented recently so let me add here...CONGRATS on leaving your job and farming full-time! You are an inspiration! Ryan actually just left his job a few weeks ago to stay at home full-time with our kiddo and work on the homestead. What a luxury to be able to have time to spend with the animals, the garden, family and friends. Enjoy it--you deserve it!!

May 29, 2012 at 7:56 PM  
Blogger hayes8705 said...

Just tried to comment but don't think it went through? Just wanted to say that my husband was doing this very thing just the other weekend...it took him longer than expected but I think the bees are happy :) Also, CONGRATS on leaving your job to farm full-time! So exciting. You are an inspiration. My hubby just left his job a few weeks ago to stay at home full-time with our kiddo and work on the homestead. Time to spend with the animals, garden, orchard, friend and family we love--what a gift! Enjoy it; you certainly deserve it.

May 29, 2012 at 7:59 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

Trying to catch up on all the posts I’ve missed or not read during the busy spring season at work and must have missed this one!

Yes, you do have quite the talent for putting words together. I definitely got the picture about you and carpentry. I grew up with a construction worker dad who’d have me hold boards as early as 4 so he could circular saw away, but I’d love to get better at it all.
Like the idea of the soap making…so many aspects to homesteading! Bees have been on my to-do list too long, I’d love to see something at Antlerstock about them.

May 31, 2012 at 9:59 AM  

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